10/02/2008 11:00PM

Letters to the Editor


Fans not so jaded to take a pass on truly exciting bet

I read the Oct. 1 article, "Santa Anita pick six falls short" and was surprised by comments made by Sherwood Chillingworth, the Oak Tree Racing Associaton's executive vice-president.

He said the pick-six carryovers on Thursday and Friday of the previous week had "drained" bettors. Also, that "the guaranteed pick-six may have lost its glamour."

Since when do carryovers in a previous week dampen betting? If there had been a carryover going into Saturday, that would have caused a $1 million pool. The betting would have been the same.

The problem was the card. There were several favorites in the pick-six who looked solid. The pick-six guarantee wasn't appealing because it just wasn't going to pay much.

Stardom Bound, in the Oak Leaf, had just beaten many of the rivals in the race by at least 4 1/4 lengths winning the Del Mar Debutante. In the Yellow Ribbon, Wait a While looked the best and was the controlling speed in the race. Well Armed looked unbeatable in the Goodwood after losing the Pacific Classic by a neck. The last race looked like only two horses, the favored Dontellmewhattodo, and Casino Gold.

The problem with the pick-six guarantee, is the days tracks decide to have it. They put several stakes races together on the same day, and this leads to short prices and subsequent lack of interest. Why not spread the stakes races around a little?

Perry Stevenson - La Mesa, Calif.

Three cheers go out for Suffolk's efforts

Kudos to the Suffolk Downs organization on its zero-tolerance policy that bans horsemen who send horses off to slaughter at the end of their careers ("Owner ruled off; violated slaughter ban," Sept. 27).

Hugs to Sam Elliott, the track's vice president of racing, who went and made the track's purchase of two horses slated for slaughter but who instead were taken to the Thoroughbred Retirement Fund's farm in Walkill, N.Y.

More hugs to to Nick Zito and Tracy Farmer, the trainer and owner of Commentator, for supporting this policy with their participation in the Massachusetts Handicap.

I cannot say enough about all of these people for their caring attitude towards these beautiful creatures after they have given their all to please us. From my perspective, Suffolk Downs has given horse racing the lead in the humane and ethical way to go. Let's hope other tracks take up the gauntlet and follow.

Diana Leeson - Miamisburg, Ohio

NYRA in new era but with old look

The new board of directors of the New York Racing Association is not really new, as only seven are new appointees (see the "NYRA reappoints 14 board members" item in the Sept. 26 Belmont Notebook). The others were on the previous NYRA board, referred to as trustees then.

The directors who did little during the past several to stem the flow of red ink or cleanse the pervasive atmosphere of corruption within NYRA are rewarded with a position on the new board of directors.

The current directors certainly have credentials: CEOs, CFOs, breeders, or partners or executives with Wall Street firms. I didn't see a Larry Lunchbucket or a Danny Dinnerpail on the list - the guys who frequent the racetrack, offtrack betting shops, or race books. Nor did I find a prominent turf writer, nor a winner of the National Handicapping Championship.

One has to wonder how many of the current directors understand and appreciate the fact that Thoroughbred racing is deeply involved in gambling. A check of how many of the directors have advance-deposit betting accounts will give the answer.

The new NYRA has pretty much the same management and directors as the previous problem-plagued NYRA. This time, though, the management and directors will be able to hide behind the influx of slot-machine revenue that will hide just about everything. Life is good for the people employed by NYRA. The same foxes are still guarding the henhouse.

Wendell Corrow - Barkhamsted, Conn.

One bettor's policy is non-starter

Why can't starter races just be eliminated altogether? Why can't owners and trainers just place their horses in allowance races or stakes if they don't want them claimed?

For me as a handicapper, starters are a big headache, pieces of useless interference with no "class" with which to work. And we can become losers if we attempt to invent some kind of "class." Since that is presumably the case, I am not able to and will not work with these races, and that limits my betting opportunities. I hope all handicappers realize this also and refrain from betting races involving starters so that they may improve their winning chances.

I also hope that racetrack executives realize the futility of having these races and possibly eliminate them in order to make the game more playable. If enough horse players were to abstain from these races, it could be a wake-up call for tracks that want more of our betting action but do nothing to make changes - like the abolishing these races.

Theodore David Castillo - Las Vegas